Album Review :
Agonal - A Suffering Complete
By John Magelssen in Reviews | Comments closed
Album: A Suffering Complete
Label: Sanctus Gladius Records
Release Date: 07/05/2013
Reviewer: John Magelssen
- Desperation’s Plea
- The Final Sunset
- Fall Unto Me
- The Fading
- A Suffering Complete
Agonal is a melodic death/doom metal band with some black metal influence, from Kentucky. The album A Suffering Complete is their latest record to come out with Sanctus Gladius Records. It is a seven-track album, which had an eighth track as a bonus for pre-orders. This album has a lot of gothic doom feel to it and is an overall great addition to the band’s history.
The record starts off with a song called “Wounded” which gently lulls you into thinking it will be a gentle song because the guitars slowly strum the main power chords of the song. This is a complete contrast to what the song really is. The synth strings come in with the drums and full band and hit it hard. The vocals of this band remind me a lot of some local bands that I listened to when I was just getting into the scene, but it isn’t a bad thing. They are on the good side of the spectrum for sure with a truly raspy sound. There are slower melodic spots when the guitar has an almost eerie feeling to it while the singer sings an almost lower muffled sound. It is an odd singing style, but fits with the music fairly well. There is a lot more double pedaling towards the end of this song and the drummer kicks it up from 16th notes to 32nd notes. It is a pretty good start to the record.
The next song, “Desperation’s Plea” is almost a ballad. It begins with an acoustic guitar and a clean electric guitar playing a very pretty melody. The song picks up and plays the same progression and melody, but with electrics and a full band to back them up. The song brings more strings in and uses them well. After a few bars, the song cuts back to the acoustic guitar and a clean voice comes in to sing. The singing makes me think of Ryan Clark from Demon Hunter a little bit and I really like his voice. There is a build up in the song using strings which I really like as well and there is a cool little guitar solo right after it. That is all I have on this song.
“The Final Sunset” begins with a staccato violin and brings the heavy guitars in behind it with the drums following the pattern of the guitars. A second guitar comes in and plays a simple melody over it, which sounds like a broken up arpeggio to me based on the root chords that are being played by the rhythm guitars. The song suddenly breaks into a slower ballad feel, but picks back up with triplet strumming patterns with the double pedal following it. There is another break and the vocals are a lot more focused on in this spot. The song gets back into the triplet chugs from the guitar and then breaks one more time. The song follows a pattern for the first half and then changes directions a little. It plays a little picking pattern on an acoustic guitar with some ambient sounds in the background until another stringed instrument comes in. I can’t tell if the bass is playing higher or if it is an electric playing with an odd tone. The acoustics ring out and then the song picks up from the chord progression being used with some double pedaling and some nice strings to back up the rhythm guitar. The song cuts out for the strings to end it.
The record ends the album with the title track, “A Suffering Complete.” This song starts with a piano playing softly as strings (a cello, violin, and upright bass) gently work their way into it. The full band comes in and an electric guitar takes the spot of the piano, but you can still the strings in the background. When the voices come in, it reminds me a little bit of Demon Hunter again, but it sounds a little more drone than DH. I think it is the second voice mixing with the first that does that. The heavy vocals come in for a moment before the song breaks down for another mere moment. The heavy doom metal sound starts to fill the atmosphere and some sick double pedaling from the drummer resonates as the guitars chug away. The song breaks again and the clean vocals come back in. The strings in the background remind me of Enya, which is kind of weird in a song from this kind of band. The song gets heavier again, but doesn’t pick up tempo immediately. There is a really neat spot when the heavy vocals are high and raspy while the guitars play a tremolo pattern with minimal drums. The song slows down and picks up a couple times before cutting to a clean guitar with a delay on it as strings play and a sound clip plays. I believe the sound clip is from one of the old Jesus movies that came out on VHS, but I cannot be sure. The band comes back in as the voice clip ends. The song dies down with just a piano at the end with another voice clip from the same video to end it.
Overall: This is a good record and definitely something to check out for those who like gothic doom metal. The heavy vocals are great, but the clean vocals could use a little work in a couple songs. The songs can be haunting at times, but the contrast works well for how beautiful the feelings being portrayed through the songs are. The genre Agonal plays is not a very popular one to try to break into, but I believe this album fits the genre well and is a good contribution to it.
RIYL: Draconian, Demon Hunter